Sister Candida Bellotti turned 107 years old on Thursday, and she is believed to be the oldest living nun in the world. Naturally, she has a thing or two to say about longevity and living well.
Born in 1907 in Verona, Italy, Candida joined the Camillian nuns more than 80 years ago and has spent her life traveling from city to city and working as a nurse.
The centenarian celebrated her birthday with Mass at Casa Santa Marta, followed by a meeting with Pope Francis and an interview with journalists eager to know the sister's secret to such a long life.
Her tips were simple but powerful:
Listen To God
Candida's recipe for a long and happy life included "listening to the voice of Christ and being meek as regards his will. Throughout my life I have always thought: wherever the Lord puts me, that is the right place for me."
Giving thanks to God was also of key importance to the sister, ANSA reported. "God does it all," Candida said. "I merely give Him thanks."
The takeaway: Trust and give thanks to the forces outside your control that may guide your path.
Live In Joy
For this nun, experiencing joy is a daily practice closely related to her faith.
"Only those who feel the happiness of drawing near to the Lord can understand how abundant his love for us is, and how much serenity he leaves in our hearts."
She also lives without regret, saying, "In more then eighty years of religious life I have never repented of my choice."
The takeaway: If you have found a vocation you love and could imagine yourself doing for many years to come, you are on the right track.
Give To Others
In addition to serving God and cultivating joy, Candida noted the importance of "making those around you happy" as an element of a happy life. After more than 80 years spent in service to different communities, the nun would know.
Even more than anecdotal evidence, though, scientific studies have shown that volunteering and giving back to the community can increase life expectancy and improve life satisfaction. How's that for an incentive?
The takeaway: Experience the joy that comes from bringing others joy through service, companionship and love.
Thanks to the Camillian Religious for the photos of Sister Candida Bellotti